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No Money, No Spacecraft, Russian Producer Warns
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Oct 24, 2008

Will exchange large truck load of cash for large train load of rocket. Spacesuits extra.

Russia's spacecraft producer Energiya will not provide any more Soyuz vessels for trips to the International Space Station unless funds could urgently be found, Energiya's president and general constructor warned Friday.

"We have vessels and funding for them for the next two trips, but I do not know what will happen with expeditions after that," Vitaly Lopota told reporters as quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency.

"We have no funds to produce new Soyuz craft. Unless we are granted loans or advance payment in the next two or three weeks, we cannot be responsible for future Soyuz production," Lopota explained.

The Soyuz is Russia's workhorse spacecraft that has carried out more than 1,600 flights, despite glitches that have bedevilled recent landings of the Soyuz capsule.

An April 19 landing, where the capsule entered the atmosphere at an unusually steep angle, subjecting astronauts to uncomfortably strong G forces and landing 420 kilometres (260 miles) from its target, as well as a similar October 2007 incident, raised doubts about the Soyuz's safety.

However, Friday's landing of the Soyuz carrying US space tourist Richard Garriott and Russian cosmonauts Sergei Volkov and Oleg Kononenko, went smoothly as scheduled.

NASA will be totally reliant on the Soyuz for transporting astronauts and cargo to the ISS after its space shuttle fleet retires in 2010 and until the shuttle's successor vehicle is ready, expected in 2015 at the earliest.


Related Links
Station and More at Roscosmos
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Russia To Decide On State Space Corporation In 2009
Zheleznogorsk, Russia (RIA Novosti) Oct 22, 2008
Russia may decide to create a state corporation for the rocket and space industry next year, a deputy prime minister said on Tuesday. Sergei Ivanov said that "all relevant departments have been instructed to develop this issue and present their well-considered proposals in 2009." Russian Space Agency head Anatoly Perminov said in turn that establishing a state corporation would help ... read more

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